Tuesday 28 February 2017

Pizza Scrolls

When my children were growing up they used to love the frozen Pizza Pockets.  I also used to make them from scratch, but in reality they took a lot of time by the time I made the yeast dough etc. so frozen was just easier.   I wish I had thought of these Pizza Scrolls back then.  It would have made life a lot simpler!

Monday 27 February 2017

Banoffee Pancakes


Tomorrow is "Pancake Day" here in the UK, also known as Shrove Tuesday it is the last day before the beginning of Lent, when traditionally people had a last feast before Lent ushered in.  It was a good and delicious way to use up the last of the eggs and fat before the fasting began.  When I was a child it was the only day of the year my mother would make pancakes.   And she didn't always make them on Pancake Day either, unless we begged her and "guilted" her into it!  Each year I try to make a different type of pancake and this year is no different.  I present Banoffee Pancakes for your perusal!!

Sunday 26 February 2017

Squidgy Prune and Ginger Cake

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 Occasionally you run across a cake that is so squidgilly good that you either have to share it right away, or hide it and hog it all to yourself.  This delicious loaf cake falls into both those categories.   I kid you not.   At first bite you will want to run to your bestest friend or partner and share it with them, coz something this scrummy just begs to be shared . . . but then again, the glutton in you may be tempted to want to hide it and save it all for yourself!

Saturday 25 February 2017

Apple and Blackcurrant Pie

 We are lucky enough to have a very prolific black currant bush in our back garden and so our freezer is filled with black currants for me to use all year round in tasty desserts, pies, cakes, etc.   This is one of Todd's favourite pies.  Well, apple anything is his favourite, but when you mix them with his other favourite fruits, black currants, well you have bagged a real winner!

Friday 24 February 2017

Cheesy Tuna Bake

Cheesy Tuna Bake

The husband is always after me to cook using things that we have in our store cupboard.  He is always complaining about how much we have stored.   

It is useless for me to explain to him that your cupboards may be full, but in a lot of cases they are full of ingredients that you put together with other things to make a meal . . .

Cheesy Tuna Bake

For example.  I may have six jars of various different olives in my store cupboard, but we are not going to sit down and eat a jar of olives for supper . . . know what I mean?   

It's the same with a tin of tomatoes, or tinned corned beef, tuna, etc.   You can use them for parts of a meal, but you will still have to go out and buy fresh ingredients to put with them. You are not going to sit and eat a tin of tomatoes on its own, or a tin of corned beef. Well, most people wouldn't anyways.

Cheesy Tuna Bake

He might be happy sitting down to a supper which consists of a tin of spam, a tin of new potatoes and a tin of green beans . . .  but it's not gonna happen if I have anything to say about it!  To me a store cupboard meal is like the one I am showing you here today.  

I have used a tin of tuna from my store cupboard . . .  a package of pasta from my cupboard . . .  two economical ingredients to have stored in the house . . . and some mayonnaise and Dijon mustard which I pretty much always have in the house.

Cheesy Tuna Bake

But I have added fresh ingredients such as sour cream,  milk and cheese to it, along with some frozen peas.  I do tend to have frozen peas in the freezer all the time as well.   

But basically with any store cupboard, no matter how much you have stored in it . . .  you will still need fresh ingredients to put with them to make a meal.

Cheesy Tuna Bake

It is slowly starting to sink into his male brain . . .  but men do take a lot of convincing at times . . .  and this is a man who basically ate out of tins before we got married. 

 For twelve years.  I know . . . the mind boggles.

Cheesy Tuna Bake

This is a tasty casserole.  It's simple to make.  Easy.  Economical and delicious.  I think you will like it.  I like to buy expensive tuna . . .  yes, even in casseroles.  

An old Italian woman once told me that if it wasn't albacore tuna it was garbage.   Old women know best.  

Now I am an old woman, and I am telling you . . .  albacore tuna is the best, flavour wise . . .  looks wise, etc.  This is where you really do get what you pay for and it's worth the little bit extra to buy quality.

 Cheesy Tuna Bake

*Cheesy Tuna Bake*
Serves 4 to 6

A simple and easy casserole which is a store cupboard favourite and so delicious!   

500g of uncooked pasta (about a pound)
(You will want a shell type of pasta or a cupped pasta that will hold the sauce)
345g of sour cream (1 1/2 cups)
120g of good quality mayonnaise (1/2 cup)
180ml of milk (3/4 cup)
90g of grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill
150g of frozen peas, unthawed (1 cup)
2 (200g) tin of good tuna, drained and flaked (2 6oz. tin)
4 spring onions, chopped
180g of grated cheddar cheese, divided (1 1/2 cups)

Cheesy Tuna Bake

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a shallow large casserole dish.  Set aside.

Cheesy Tuna Bake

Bring a lightly salted pot of water to the boil.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and rinse.  

Whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 of the cheddar cheese together with the flaked tuna, spring onions, peas, dill and seasoning.   Fold in the cooked pasta.  

Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish, smooth over and cover tightly with foil.   Bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for a further five to ten minutes until the cheese melts.  Serve hot.

These types of meals are my favourite kinds of meals.  I love throwing together store cupboard ingredients and coming up with something tasty.  With the weather we had today I was not going out to the shed to get anything so I made do with what I had in the house, and quite deliciously so!  Bon Appetit!

Thursday 23 February 2017

Time for a Boost

Boostball is now rolling out across the world and has also been launched into the skies as Virgins Atlantic's protein snack of choice for their customers.  The company recently contacted me and asked me if I would like to try them.  I am always game for something new and so I said yes!

Grape Nuts Bread

Grape-Nuts is a breakfast cereal developed in 1897 by C. W. Post, a former patient and later competitor of the 19th-century breakfast food innovator, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Despite the name, the cereal contains neither grapes nor nuts; it is made with wheat and barley.  

This is not something which we ever really ate as a cereal when I was growing up and it's not something I would eat as a cereal now.  

It's rather hard and crunchy, but it is great for baking with!  Back home in Eastern Canada it is also used in Ice Cream.  Grape Nuts Ice Cream was always a real favourite in our house and I do belive that it is my mother's favourite kind, or at least it was.

It's really hard and crunchy,  but softens somewhat in the ice cream so that it almost becomes nutty, and it is the same with this old fashioned tea bread I am showing you today.

The cereal imparts little nutty flavoured bits throughout the bread, which never entirely soften, but remain a bit chewy and nicely flavoured.

I had not made this in years, but upon spying a box of Grape Nuts at the shops the other day I was motivated to pick up a box and bring it home so that I could bake this tasty loaf of nostalgia.

Its lovely served cold and sliced into thin slices which are buttered with softened butter  . . . it's great warm as well, especially toasted, and yes once again, slathered in butter.   

Its awfully nice used to make chicken salad sandwiches.   Its just plain good.  I even enjoy it in thin slices with nothing on it . . . just eaten out of hand.  I like to think I am eating something healthy, but I probably am not.  Oh well . . .

Grape Nuts Bread

*Grape Nuts Bread*
Makes one medium loaf
This old, old recipe always turns out lovely.  Sweet with little crunchy nubbles throughout. 

308ml of whole milk, scalded (1 1/3 cups)
3 TBS softened butter
80g Grape-Nuts brand cereal nubbles (2/3 cup)
280g plain flour (2 cups)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
125g granulated sugar (2/3 cup)
1 large free range egg, beaten lightly 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter an 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch loaf tin really well and line with baking paper.  Alternately use the paper baking liners you can buy for loaf tins that are  like muffin papers. (My preference) 

Scald the milk and add the butter.  Stir to melt the butter.  Stir in the cereal nubbles and the sugar.   Cool to lukewarm and beat in the egg.  Sift the flour and baking powder together.  Whisk in the salt.  Add to the milk mixture and stir together just to combine.  Pour into your prepared loaf tin. 

Bake for about 1 hour until risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Tip out onto a wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight wrapper.  Cut into slices to serve, buttered.  It also makes nice sandwiches with sliced meats or chicken salad.

Grape Nuts Bread

Why not bake some nostalgia for yourself today!  I am sure you would enjoy.  Bon Appetit!

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Sticky Gammon Steaks

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During the week, I try to cook meals which are quick and easy and not too hard on the budget.  Living on a pension means we have a very basic fixed income, and so there is not a lot of room for playing around overly much, and with way food costs are rising, it gets harder and harder each week to make ends meet and still keep our meals interesting.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Vegetable Chow Mein

This dish is quick, easy and delicious.  It is such a simple thing and goes very well with stir fries of any kind, and if you add a bit of leftover cooked meat or poulrty can even double as a main course.  Mmmm . . . Chicken chow mein.  Who doesn't love that!

Monday 20 February 2017

Turkey Hash


I know what you are thinking . . .  Turkey Hash?  It's not anywhere near a holiday is it.  Well, unless you count Pancake Day (Feb 28th this year) no, it is not anywhere near a holiday.  But . . .  one of the things about writing a cookery book is that you have to cook things that you want to go into the book at odd times, and I found myself roasting a turkey one day last week, hence . . . . Turkey Hash.   I needed to do something with the leftovers!

Sunday 19 February 2017

Vanilla Sauced Bread Pudding

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I think Bread Pudding has to be the Toddster's favourite all time dessert, next to apple pie.   So, this week, when I found myself having a bit too much bread in the house due to the Toddster's having bought the wrong kind of bread when he picked it up for me (men ARE from Mars!)  I knew exactly what to do with the excess!

Saturday 18 February 2017

Fruited Scones

 One of my favourite experiences over here is the Cream Tea, and you will find them all over the country.   Hot pots of tea (and they can be herbal teas if you wish) served up with flakey fruited scones and butter, along with pots of fruit jam and clotted cream.  What a delicious treat this is and such a quintessentially British experience!

Friday 17 February 2017

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

One of my favourite soups has to be broccoli and cheese soup.  I just love it.  I love broccoli anyways, and when you combine it with cheese, well  . . . that is just a match made in heaven.  

This delicious casserole today had very similar ingredients as broccoli cheese soup, except it's not soup, it's a fabulous casserole that will have your family scrambling for seconds!

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

It also makes great use of leftover baked potatoes.  In fact if I am going to bake some potatoes for supper, I always throw a few extra into the oven just so that I can make this tasty casserole the day after! 

It never hurts to have already cooked potatoes on tap!

 Broccoli & Potato Casserole

 I call it Skinny Broccoli and Potato Casserole because I used to make it with full fat ingredients, but now I make it with low fat or no fat ingredients, which cuts back on the calories quite a bit. 

It is surprising how easy it is to cut back on fat and calories with just a few substitutions!

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

 And, NO, that doesn't mean you get to eat twice as much as you normally would.  You just eat the same amount as you usually do and feel good about eating a bit healthier.  Everybody wins!

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

Fat free sour cream  . . .  low fat cheddar and mozzarella cheeses . . .  skimmed milk.  Combined with chopped baked potatoes, cooked broccoli and spring onions and you are in for a real treat that doesn't taste low fat at all.  

It's every bit as rich tasting as the original . . .  which probably had a lot more cheese in it as well, but what the heck!

 Broccoli & Potato Casserole

These days I am just happy if there is any cheese in anything!  Seriously you are going to love this.  

I could eat a plate of this and be quite happy with nothing else. I really do love my veggies, and broccoli and potatoes are two of my all time favourites from the vegetable kingdom!

Broccoli & Potato Casserole

*Skinny Broccoli and Potato Casserole*
Serves 4

It's like your favourite broccoli soup in a casserole.   Delicious and simple to make. 

3 medium baking potatoes, baked and cooled
125g of low fat sour cream (1/2 cup)
60ml skimmed milk (1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
pinch each garlic powder and onion powder
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large head of broccoli, broken into florets and steamed until crispy tender
(I peel and chop up the stem and add it as well)
60g of reduced fat strong cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
55g of low fat Mozzarella, shredded (1/2 cup)

 Broccoli & Potato Casserole

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Spray a shallow casserole dish with low fat cooking spray.  

 Broccoli & Potato Casserole

Reserve a couple of tablespoons of cheese (1 of each) and then combine all of the remaining ingredients together.   Spread into the casserole dish.  Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minute.  Remove from the oven and scatter the reserved cheese over top and return to the oven just to melt the cheese.   Serve hot.

 Broccoli & Potato Casserole

The real challenge is keeping the pounds off of me!  Oh, I wish I could eat whatever without having to worry about it.  Sigh . . .  Bon Appetit! 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Thursday 16 February 2017

Grilled Cheese Dogs

I had the opportunity to go to Costco the other day with a friend and I stocked up on All Beef Hot Dogs.  I love hotdogs, and  I really like the all beef ones.  
The only place you can get all beef hot dogs over here in the UK is at Costco, so when I get the chance to go, I stock up on them and bang them into the freezer.   Their dogs are really good and have no fillers and a nice crisp skin.  
I know that hotdogs are not the healthiest thing you could be eating, but every now and again, a bit of what you really enjoy does a person the world of good!

My mother made the best hotdogs in the world.   She had a waffle/grill iron that you could use either as a grill or a waffle maker.  Every Friday night she would fire up the grill plates in prep for Friday night hotdog night.   
She didn't use quality dogs, just Larsens and they were not my favourite things . . .  ordinarily, but her treatment with them made even a Larsen's hotdog taste good.

First off the buns would be buttered on the outsides and then toasted in the grill. She did this  just like a grilled cheese sandwich.
They ended up all buttery and toasty on the surface, but still hot and steamy soft inside . . . delicious!

The weiners/franks would be split down the length almost all the way through so that they opened up like a book.  
These would be placed cut side down onto the grill and then it would be shut and they would grill until golden brown on both sides.  

If you have never tasted a weiner/frank that has been toasted in just this manner you have been missing out on something really special . . . they are quite simply wonderful.  That was her secret.  
Just the split weiners and the toasted buns.  We added our own toppings.  I like mustard and relish and have never ever been able to abide tomato catsup on any kind of bread!  Its just one of my quirks!

I don't have a fancy grill/press.  I did have a lovely cuisineart one, but it stopped working after using it a couple of times and I have never bothered to replace it.  
Too expensive.  I make do with my Pampered Chef grill pan and a baking sheet and some heavy weights.  They get the job done.

The other day I added cheese which melted down over those toasty franks gilding them to perfection . . .  I served them with sweet potato fries and we were in hot dog heaven.   
I confess . . .  I had one of the leftovers reheated in the microwave for breakfast the next morning and I was one very happy gluttonous camper!  

*Grilled Cheese Dogs*
Serves 6
These are a real favourite with the children and a once in a blue moon treat for the adults! 

6 soft sided, top cut hot dog buns
softened butter for spreading
6 frankfurters
12 TBS of a mix of strong cheddar and red leicester cheese
(You can use whichever cheese you like, Cheddar and Jack are also good)
Your favourite hot dog toppings to serve 

Heat a large non stick grill pan (without ridges) or a non stick skillet over medium heat.   Butter your buns on both of the outer edges.   Place each, with one  buttered side down in the heated skillet.  Grill over medium heat until golden.  Flip over and press down lightly with a spatula.  Brown on the other side.  Remove and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the frankfurters. 

Taking a sharp knife, slit each frankfurter almost all the way through down the length of them.  Open up like a book.  Place open side down in the hot pan.   I like to lay a baking sheet on top with a heavy weight on top.  Alternately you can use a panini press.   Cook until golden.  Remove the pan and weight and flip the frankfurters over.  Place the pan and weight on top again and cook until golden on the other side.   Remove the pan and weight and top each dog with 2 TBS of the cheese.   Pop under a pre-heated grill to melt the cheese.  Place into the warm toasted buns and serve along with your favourite hot dog toppings.

You know it really is the simple things in life which bring me the most pleasure!  Bon Appetit! 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

 Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Broccoli and Cheddar Chowder

 I scored with a bag of broccoli at the grocery store today.  Marked down to next to nothing.  

I expect it had reached its sell-by date, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  It was a brilliant green, and all the florets were intact.  I had to buy it.  

I decided to make a delicious and warming soup/chowder with it.   It's been freezing cold today with a bitter wind blowing. 

Soup is always welcome on a cold winter's day.  All you need to make a meal of it is some nice crusty bread really. 

Todd usually likes his soupls pureed.  I like a bit of texture in mine, and so this is a bit of a combination of both our likes. 

 I mashed some of it with a potato masher, which not only thickened it a bit, but made him happy . . . and the chunks made me happy.

I added cheese.  Broccoli and cheese are such good bed partners.   They get along quite happily.  Use a strong flavoured cheese.   A good strong cheddar works very well.  

I also added some carrot for colour and additional texture.   It's really a chowder I think . . . which is more than a soup.  A chowder is a meal. 

*Broccoli and Cheddar Chowder*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

A healthy and satisfyingly delicious winter chowder recipe using up bits from the vegetable bin.  

1 TBS light olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large stalk of celery, trimmed and chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 TBS plain flour
1 tsp dry mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, stems peeled and chopped,
florets, separated and cut into bite sized pieces
900ml of vegetable stock (3 1/2cups)
120g strong cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
(Lower fat cheese works fine)
(plus a bit extra to sprinkle on the finished soup when you serve it)
125ml of cream (1/2 cup) (you can also use low fat evaporated milk, undiluted.  This is what I use.)
fine sea salt and black pepper to taste 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.   Add the onion, shallot, carrot and celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion and celery have softened, without browning.  

Add the potato and garlic. Cook, stirring until the garlic becomes fragrant.   Add the flour, mustard and cayenne, stirring it in well and allowing it to cook for a couple minutes.   

 Stir in the vegetable stock along with the broccoli stems.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Uncover and stir in the broccoli florets.  Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes.  

Remove the cover and mash it a bit with a potato masher.  Don't mash it too much, as you want a coarse texture.  Stir in the cheddar and cream.   Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.  Ladle into heated bowls.  Top with some grated cheese and serve.